Mediation is a powerful tool for resolving divorces, child custody disputes and other family law matters. It can have many different benefits, including minimizing the financial cost and allowing you to retain control of the outcome.
However, because mediation involves working collaboratively with the other party, it is an inherently sensitive process. It’s very easy to miss out on the benefits and sabotage the process.
According to Mediate.com, here are five common mistakes to avoid:
1. Insulting the other person. You probably have every reason to think poorly of your spouse. However, calling the other person “dumb” or “crazy” in front of the mediator is likely to make him or her feel bitter and angry, not encourage cooperation.
2. Making spur-of-the-moment comments. We all know that it’s best to think things through before saying them, but it can be particularly difficult to do so when the discussion heats up and you feel provoked. For instance, if your spouse says something hurtful, you may be tempted to impulsively lash out. Instead, consider taking a mental “time out” until you can calmly ponder your response.
3. Assuming you’re a mind reader. It’s very easy to attribute motivations to another person’s behavior. We do it all the time. If someone frowns, we assume he is unhappy. If someone unlocks a door, we assume she is going to walk through that door. However, while assumptions can often be right, they can also frequently be wrong. It’s essentially that you don’t jump to the conclusion that your spouse is intentionally trying to hurt, frustrate or insult you.
4. Using “always” or “never” statements. Saying your spouse “always ignores the baby” or “never pays the credit card bills” is an invitation for the other person to argue with you about all the times that he or she DID help with the children or DID pay the bills. Don’t waste time fighting over these types of statements.
5. Telling it all over town. One of the most important aspects of mediation is the idea of confidentiality. Whatever conversation you and your spouse have during the mediation sessions should be treated as private. If you share the information with friends, family or coworkers, you’re likely to lose the other person’s trust and hinder the process.
Ultimately, both parties are responsible for whether mediation is successful or not. However, avoiding the mistakes above can significantly increase your chances of success.
To learn more about the mediation process and how to make it work for you, consider talking with an Ohio lawyer skilled in this area of law.